Israel Elwyn CEO Shares Experience with US Disability Activists


On February 9, Israel Elwyn's CEO, David Marcu, made a presentation on self-advocacy by people with disabilities in Israel to a Rockville, Md. audience that included members of the Jewish community and disability rights activists from RespectAbility.  RespectAbility is a nationwide American nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and expanding opportunities for people with disabilities.

Marcu opened by referring to the change in approach that has occurred in the over 25 years he has worked in the field of disability.  He noted that until recently, professionals believed only they had the knowledge and the right to make decisions for people with disability.  In contrast, today no decision is made about any of Israel Elwyn's (IE) service recipients without the individual's direct involvement.  "We provide the tools that help our service recipients make decisions about their own lives," he said, adding that IE supports them as they explore the advantages and disadvantages of a decision, as well as their rights and responsibilities.

IE's National Self-Advocacy program was described in detail, including the influence participants are having on Israeli legislation and government policy.  Marcu also spoke about IE's Reshet ("Network") program and other IE programs for young people, showing a film on these programs which can be seen at:  

The event was covered by both the (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent.

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